Maybe the Thunder should play every game on the road. After an impressive five-game road trip where they went 4-1, the Oklahoma City Thunder returned to the Chesapeake Energy Arena and dropped one to the San Antonio Spurs 112-102.
The Thunder now hold a 5-1 record on the road and are 0-5 at home this season.
Everything looked promising for the Thunder early on, leading 20-13 through the first nine minutes of the first quarter, but almost immediately after the second team checked into the game, the Spurs went on a 13-6 run to tie things up at the end of the first and didn’t look back from that point.
It was surprising for OKC’s bench, a unit that dominated their time on the court on OKC’s road trip and often brought the team back after the starters got off to a lackluster start.
But even in the second quarter, the Thunder bench couldn’t get anything going offensively and allowed San Antonio to hit timely buckets. OKC was outscored 25-17 in the second quarter, and San Antonio went into the half with a 51-43 lead and momentum.
As Oklahoma City seems to do this season, they started the third quarter strong, on an 11-3 run and tying the game up at 54. That was the closest the Thunder would get to a lead through the remainder of the game.
It’s simple: the Thunder were unaggressive on offense and couldn’t stop the Spurs from making big shots in the second half. Lonnie Walker IV torched OKC for 24 points on 7-of-15 shooting, 10 of which coming in the fourth quarter.
There are two glaring statistics in this game that clarified why the Spurs led through the majority of the second half.
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As they seemingly always do, San Antonio played an extremely unselfish brand of basketball. They finished the game with 26 assists versus Oklahoma City’s 18.
The Spurs forced 13 turnovers, and eight of those were steals. On the other end, the Spurs only turned the ball over four times. During OKC’s win streak, they forced turnovers, most of which being steals. OKC only had one steal tonight.
Despite those two lopsided aspects of today’s game, the Thunder could have pulled out a tough win if SGA would have played with the same aggressive nature that he played with on their road trip.
In the first quarter, SGA was on fire, and it looked like he’d make a run at his career-high of 32 points. He started the game shooting 4-for-4 and only attempted six more shots through the remainder of the game, finishing 7-10 for 20 points. He finished with two assists, so it doesn’t appear like he was focusing on getting his teammates involved either.
Hamidou Diallo recorded his third-straight game of 15 or more points off the bench with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
There’s no time for OKC to reflect on this loss that snapped their three-game winning streak. They’re facing the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers tomorrow night in the Peake.